ONE of the country’s leading grammar school has reacted to scathing criticism from a former student.

Scarlett Mansfield, who attended the sixth form at Colchester Royal Grammar School in 2011, has highlighted the issue around sexual abuse which she alleges occurred during her time at the school.

The 26-year-old shared details of the “traumatising” experiences she claims both herself and other female students endured during their time at the facility in a blog post.

Almost 20,000 people have read Scarlett’s blog post online since it was published.

Within her blog, she urges Colchester Royal Grammar School staff to speak with women and listen to what they have to say about what needs to be changed at the school.

She has called for an external safeguarding lead for students as well as having ex-CRGS women help support the transition for new female students.

In response, Colchester Royal Grammar School’s headteacher John Russell said he was “shocked and saddened” to read the reports of “wholly unacceptable behaviours” some female students experienced.

He added: “Misogyny, harassment, abuse and discrimination in any form is not tolerated at CRGS.

“All reported incidents are dealt with in line with the highest levels of our code of conduct and we keep thorough records of such incidents.

“We recognise the value of a united approach to raising awareness of discrimination, harassment and abuse in every form it takes.

“We are clear that inaction by any bystander is to be complicit and is therefore equally unacceptable.”

He said the students’ voice is increasingly at the heart of the school’s equality and diversity work, but admitted there is “clearly” more to be done.

“The CRGS senior leadership team, our safeguarding leads, the school counsellor and the pastoral team are always available for any current students who need to report an incident or who need help, support and advice,”he added.

Mr Russell also urged students who have been victims of a criminal act to contact the police if they have not already done so.

He added: “We have made our school liaison officer aware of the allegations of criminal acts and will work closely with the police to ensure such reports are dealt with sensitively and effectively.”

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Scarlett also claimed the school’s Old Colcestrian Society was sexist towards her in 2019.

A statement from the society said: “We are aware of comments suggesting the OCS could be perceived as unwelcoming towards our female alumnae.

“We very much regret anyone should feel this way.

“The society actively encourages all current and former students and staff to become members of the society, to attend our events and provide opinions on the workings of the society.”

It claims it has “progressed from what has been a century-old predominantly male alumni group” and is proud membership has been strong among female leavers in the past five years.

It added: “We are extremely keen to continue this progression as we strive to provide CRGC with the best alumni society possible.”